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Fat Absorption

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Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine


Dietary lipids absorption


The absorption of the fat begins in the intestine with the help of several enzymes which is closely regulated by local hormones.


More than 90% of dietary fat is in the form of triacylglycerol (TAG). The remainder of the fat is in the form of cholesterol, cholesteryl esters, phospholipids, and free fatty acids, which are unesterified. The mechanism of fat absorption includes degradation by the local enzymes, mediated by the hormones in the gastrointestinal system.

The digestion of the lipids begins in the stomach, when the food content is mixed with salivary lipase produced in the mouth. The gastric lipase is produced by the stomach and salivary lipase, which are resistant to gastric acidity, helps the breakdown of short- and medium-chain TAG molecules. Once the lipid-rich food reaches the duodenum, which is the first part of small intestine, the process of emulsification begins with the addition of bile salts and mechanical...

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References and Readings

  • Harvey, R. A., & Ferrier, D. R. (2008). Cholesterol and steroid metabolism. In R. A. Harvey (Ed.), Lippincott’s illustrated reviews biochemistry (pp. 173–180). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

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Correspondence to Manjunath Harlapur .

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© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media, New York

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Harlapur, M., Shimbo, D. (2013). Fat Absorption. In: Gellman, M.D., Turner, J.R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine. Springer, New York, NY.

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